If you are not currently a member of the Lee’s Summit City Council (heck, even if you are), now is the time to take heed.
Those running for office need to zero in now on what is going on at council and committee meetings and around the community.
That includes attending these meetings, watching them on TV or online and starting to dig into the action.
The filing deadline has quietly slipped away over the holidays and into the New Year. With less than a week to go, the smart money says those that filed on the first day will be the final candidates listed on the ballot come April 8.
Some of those candidates have experience in city government, others don’t.
But all of them could certainly benefit in taking extra time to expand their horizons during the campaign season.
This is the time of year that we pack in a lot of action at the council level: budget talks, city funds, economic development, incentives and the like, while many issues also seem to take a fast track to council to get in front of the dais before we turn over seats in a few months.
Council meetings and work sessions, while sometimes excruciatingly long and overcooked, are prime educational ground for candidates wishing to take office.
While it’s fair that we should allow for some learning curve with newly elected officials, the fact remains that the curve is ever shrinking. Business has to get done and key votes will greet new (and possible returning) council members.
We’ve already had a few discussions about preparedness, and sometimes lack thereof, at the council level. It’s a pesky little problem that we simply don’t have time for.
I get the sense that there is some feeling out in the land of Lee’s Summit that being a councilman isn’t that hard, doesn’t take too much time and can be done with minimal effort.
There are many factors that have contributed to that line of thinking. Heck, some council members make it look easy every week.
But, closer to the truth is that they are just prepared, week in and week out. They read the packets, they visit the sites, they talk to business, civic and community leaders as much as their constituents.
When they’re on their game, they do make it look easy. Of course, the same can be said about the opposite effect – when a council member isn’t prepared, it really is downright ugly.
So candidates, now is the time.
Clear your schedules and pack some coffee.
If we’re going to ask for a higher level of governance, we have to start with a higher level of council candidate.
It’s only fair to us.
John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lees Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.